Learning what electrical hazards to look for is one of the best ways to help prevent an electrical accident from happening in your home. Below are some of the most common electrical hazards found in homes and how to remove these risks.
Outdated or Poor Wiring
Faulty wiring is the leading cause of residential fires. To minimize these risks, have a certified electrician check your home’s wiring every few years so you know if any need to be repaired or replaced.
If the wiring in your home is 30 years or older, have it inspected annually.
Call an electrician immediately if the lights in your home dim or flicker without explanation, breakers repeatedly trip, or outlets feel warm or spark. These are signs you may need to repair the wiring in your house.
Leaving Appliances Plugged-in Near Water Sources
If a plugged-in appliance gets wet, don’t unplug it. Go to the electrical panel box in your home and turn off the power source to the outlet the appliance is plugged into. Then you can unplug the appliance and have a qualified repair person evaluate its safety.
Overloaded Power Boards and Outlets
Power boards and outlets are designed to handle a certain amount of electricity. Plugging several high voltage devices into a power board can overload the board or the outlet, and possibly cause an electrical fire. Another dangerous practice is plugging adapters into the power board to increase the number of devices it can accommodate. Plugging two or more power boards together can also result in overload.
If you use power boards in your home, choose models that include a circuit breaker. If the power board becomes too hot or overloaded, the breaker will trip, minimising the risk of a fire.
Unprotected Electrical Outlets
Young children tend to be curious about electrical outlets, which can present a serious danger. If they put their finger or an object into the outlet they can be burned, shocked, or electrocuted. Protect young children from these risks by using plastic closures to cover any outlet they can reach. For a more permanent solution, install child safety wall plates. These plates feature built-in outlet covers that automatically snap into place when the outlet is not in use.
Improper Use of Extension Cords
Extension cords can come in handy, but they are often used improperly, which can result in a hazardous situation.
Don’t overload the cord by plugging in multiple heavy-duty appliances and avoid running the extension cord under a rug or other surface. Make sure the cord is in good condition before you use it, as these cords don’t last forever. If you find you’re constantly using an extension cord to provide power to a specific area of your home, install additional electrical outlets instead.
Operating an Unsafe Appliance
Whether it’s a toaster that smokes or a clothes dryer that constantly trips a circuit breaker, malfunctioning appliances are unsafe. To avoid an electrical fire, shock, burn, or other injury, don’t use faulty appliances.
If an appliance starts to malfunction while in use, go to the main electrical panel in your home and cut off the power to where the appliance is plugged in. Unplug the appliance and either recycle it or get it professionally repaired. Be cautious of buying used appliances, as you can’t be sure of their safety, and never use an appliance that was recalled.